Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 1RS

Contact: Mark O'Callaghan  Scrutiny and Engagement Officer

Note: The public proceedings of the meeting will be recorded and made available for playback on the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council website 

Items
No. Item

FC50/19

Apologies for absence pdf icon PDF 5 KB

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Horwood, Reilly and Thomson.

FC51/19

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 5 KB

To receive any declarations of interest by members in items on the agenda. For any advice on declarations of interest; please contact the Monitoring Officer before the meeting.

Minutes:

Councillor Pope declared an ‘Other Significant Interest’ on the basis that his wife owned a flat in Grove Hill House which was adjacent to, and affected by the Compulsory Purchase Order related to, the Calverley Square development.

 

Councillors Bland and Ms Palmer noted that they were directors of Tunbridge Wells Property Holdings Limited but that as they did not benefit financially from the office this did not constitute a beneficial interest.

FC52/19

Motion to Suspend and Replace Council Procedure Rule 19.2.1 pdf icon PDF 64 KB

To consider and, if thought fit, to approve the Motion on Notice as set out in the report.

Minutes:

Councillor Scholes moved, and Councillor Podbury seconded, the recommendation set out in the report.

 

Mr James Tansley had registered to speak but was not present.

 

The Mayor took a vote on the motion by affirmation.

 

RESOLVED – That, during the consideration of item 4 on the agenda (Calverley Square Delivery Stages 5-7), Council Procedure Rule 19.2.1 be suspended and replaced as follows: The total time limit allocated to members of the public for speaking on an item on the agenda is 12 minutes for supporters of the proposals plus 12 minutes for objectors of the proposals.

FC53/19

Calverley Square Delivery Stage 5-7 pdf icon PDF 438 KB

To consider and, if thought fit, to approve the recommendations set out in the report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Scott moved, and Councillor McDermott seconded, the recommendations set out in the report.

 

In moving the recommendations the following points were made:

·         The first recommendation was requested to be taken separately to the rest as this was prepared by Cabinet, with the remaining prepared by officers.

·         The Calverley Square development was seen as a major development for the town which would produce upwards of £34m of business each year.  The scheme was fully budgeted at £2.3m per annum.

·         The only alternative to this scheme was a rebuild or reconfigure of the existing Assembly Hall at a considerable cost. It would also require closing for 3-4 years with a loss of business and a loss for local community groups.

·         The Town Hall would also have to decant for a period of 3-4 years while a refurbishment programme was undertaken. This would also be a high risk high cost strategy.

·         There was sound evidence to support the Calverley Square scheme.

·         There were options for the current buildings (leisure, hotel, residential, education and/or offices).

·         The new theatre would bring huge benefits to the local economy. Increased footfall that would enhance businesses, shopping, restaurants and bars. It would also benefit local schools that would be able to make good use of this facility. 

·         Any alternative to the scheme would undoubtedly cost more.

·         In conclusion, the recommendation was to proceed as originally planned.

 

Dr Robert Banks had registered to speak, which included the following points:

·         The scheme had the highest risk classification. Although the cost increase had been managed the scheme remained a high risk. 

·         By the time the PWLB loan had been granted the interest rate might have increased which would negate the predicted £10m saving. 

·         The £5m from Kent County Council was not guaranteed. 

·         Given the unpopularity of the scheme could there be any guarantee that the necessary fundraising could be achieved. 

·         Despite assurances of transparency, details of the Cross Party working groups and details of viable alternatives had not been given. 

·         RIBA Stage 4 Report (seen by Councillors on 24 August 2019) was still not in the public domain.

·         Predicted ticket sales for the new theatre were not realistic.

·         The cost to cancel the scheme was the cheapest and safest option. 

 

Mr Robert Atwood had registered to speak, which included the following points:

·         The issue at stake would affect the Borough for many years.

·         There remained disapproval from the public for the Calverley Square project.

·         There was a belief that senior Council Officers had guided Members in the wrong direction.

·         The Calverley Square project was a flawed concept and should be stopped.

 

Mrs Angela Funnell had registered to speak, which included the following points:

·         Since its concept the cost of the scheme had risen substantially. The cost was now £108m. This cost, plus interest was a disproportionate amount of money to spend on one scheme.

·         The Council had always been a prudent authority. This was not a prudent decision. It would burden a future generation and was a danger to future  ...  view the full minutes text for item FC53/19

FC54/19

Motion to Refer a Matter to an Appropriate Body

Minutes:

Councillor Scott moved, and Councillor Hayward seconded, a motion without notice, in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 12.4, to refer a matter to an appropriate body. Specifically:

“The Full Council recognises and supports the workings of the Cross-Party Group to date and asks that it continue its work, specifically to examine the business case and other aspects for options for the 4 key sites owned by the Council (the Town Hall, Assembly Hall Theatre, Mount Pleasant Car Park and the Great Hall Car Park) together with other sites which might become available. The Full Council asks that the Cross-Party Group should report to the Full Council meeting on 18 December 2019 and provide interim reports to Cabinet, Cabinet Advisory Boards and the Development Advisory Panel.”

 

Councillor Pound raised a Point of Order that a motion without notice was without debate. The Mayor, on the advice of the Chief Executive, confirmed that as the motion without notice was moved and seconded, that the motion could be debated.

 

The debate on the motion included the following points:

·         There was a request to ensure that the end game was recognised in any future decisions.

·         Concern was raised that a working party was not sufficiently formal for such an important issue.

·         The Local Plan was a live consultation at the time of the meeting. Residents should be encouraged to take this opportunity to make their comments known.

·         18 December may be too early to provide a report.

·         Important to ensure that the community was involved in any decision making process and to bring in expertise where needed.

·         The working party would seek to expand the work of the cross party group. It would include external sources of expertise, other members of the Council and members of the public.

·         It was confirmed that the working group was not a decision making group. It would seek to review and then submit to the relevant decision making committees.

 

Councillor Hamilton requested a recorded vote.

 

Members who voted in favour of the motion: Councillors Atkins, Atwood, Bailey, Barrington-King, Bland, Bruneau, Dawlings, Ellis, Everitt, Hamilton, Hayward, Hill, Lewis, Mackonochie, March, McDermott, Morton, Neve, Noakes, Ms Palmer, Podbury, Pope, Pound, Scott, Mrs Soyke, Mrs Thomas, Warne and Willis. (28)

 

Members who voted against the motion: Councillors Backhouse, Chapelard, Funnell, Hickey, Holden, Scholes and Williams. (7)

 

Members who abstained from voting: Councillors Mrs Cobbold, Fairweather, Dr Hall, Lidstone, Poile, Rands, Simmons, Stanyer and Woodward. (9)

 

RESOLVED – That the Full Council recognises and supports the workings of the Cross-Party Group to date and asks that it continue its work, specifically to examine the business case and other aspects for options for the 4 key sites owned by the Council (the Town Hall, Assembly Hall Theatre, Mount Pleasant Car Park and the Great Hall Car Park) together with other sites which might become available. The Full Council asks that the Cross-Party Group should report to the Full Council meeting on 18 December 2019 and provide interim reports to Cabinet, Cabinet Advisory Boards  ...  view the full minutes text for item FC54/19

FC55/19

Motion on Notice from Councillor Everitt pdf icon PDF 59 KB

To consider and, if thought fit, to approve the Motion on Notice as set out in the report.

Minutes:

The motion was not moved.

FC56/19

Motion on Notice from Councillor Pound pdf icon PDF 62 KB

To consider and, if thought fit, to approve the Motion on Notice as set out in the report.

Minutes:

The motion was not moved.

FC57/19

Motion on Notice from Councillor Ellis pdf icon PDF 57 KB

To consider and, if thought fit, to approve the Motion on Notice as set out in the report.

Minutes:

The motion was not moved.

FC58/19

Urgent Business pdf icon PDF 5 KB

To consider any other items which the Mayor decides are urgent, for the reasons to be stated, in accordance with Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

FC59/19

Common Seal of the Council pdf icon PDF 5 KB

To authorise the Common Seal of the Council to be affixed to any contract, minute, notice or other document arising out of the minutes, or pursuant to any delegation, authority or power conferred by the Council.

Minutes:

RESOLVED That the Common Seal of the Council be affixed to any contract, minute, notice or other document arising out of the minutes or pursuant to any delegation, authority or power conferred by the Council.

 

FC60/19

Exempt Appendices to Calverley Square Delivery Stage 5-7 (Item 4) pdf icon PDF 6 KB

Exempt by virtue of paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended): Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person including the authority holding that information.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The matter to which the exempt appendices relate was decided in public session taking the exempt information as read.

 

A - Z of council services